Nigeria

WHO, UNICEF urge mothers to join campaign to combat measles

United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF)

Mothers in Ekiti State have been admonished to make their wards available for the new measles vaccine to be administered to children between nine and 15 months.

The trio of World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), which are currently leading the advocacy, said the gesture was aimed at combating the killer-disease.

Speaking in Ado-Ekiti during a stakeholders’ meeting on anti-measles campaign, the UNICEF Senior State Technical Facilitator, Yahaya Oloriegbe, said the imminisation was a global initiative geared towards eradicating the dangerous disease.

They have partnered the Ekiti State government to begin aggressive campaign and vaccination of children against killer-measles disease in the state.

To achieve the set goal, the global health organisations said they have introduced a new vaccine to be administered on children at ages nine and 15 months, to reduce the scourge, regarded as one of the greatest killer diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.

Oloriegbe added that the coalition is targeting 95 percent coverage for children between nine and 15 months of age with widespread sensitisation and campaign programmes using critical stakeholders like the traditional and religious leaders.

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“This programme is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and it is a free health initiative to save our children from death. We are concerned about ensuring that services get to the right people.”

“The essence of the first and second doses of the vaccine is to build the children’s immunities and limit the level of exposure to the disease. The service is free and it is their rights to enjoy it and this campaign will help in preparing them ahead”, he said.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mojisola Yahaya-Kolade, said available statistics in the country revealed that measles prevalent rate among the children of that age range is 44 percent, which she said, was too dangerous to be ignored.

Yahaya-Kolade appealed to traditional rulers and heads of religious institutions to join in the campaign so as to safeguard the lives of the Nigerian children from avoidable death.

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The commissioner disclosed that the measles vaccine administration will commence in all the government-owned health facilities in all the 177 wards in Ekiti on November 14.

“The global initiative is to banish measles and Ekiti, under Governor Kayode Fayemi, has keyed into the agenda.

“Experts believe that administration of the two doses will slim down the rate of attack, because by the time you administer the first one, viruses will come few months later, but the second dose will strengthen their immunities and the virus won’t be able to suppress them and the level of resistance will be high.

“Our mothers shouldn’t make a mistake by underrating measles, it is a killer disease and they should visit the designated health centres to have the vaccine administered on their children, because it is not going to be a house-to-house campaign administration like that of polio vaccine”, she said.

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